What to do in Medellin, Colombia
Medellín is the city where I was born. This is one of the reasons why I love this city among other things. Being located in a valley and elevated 1,495 m (4,905 ft) above sea level gives its inhabitants perfect weather. Temperatures normally fall in the range of 20°C (68°F) to 30°C (86°F). It is unusual to have a higher or a lower temperature than this. The city has a good transportation system that will help you around the city easily (Metro, tram, cable and integrated routes with buses). Most of the people are very friendly. I am not going to tell you that everybody is going to treat you nicely, however you’ll feel the difference compared to what you’ve experienced in other cities or countries. There are many things to do in Medellin and you will definitely have fun in here.
I’ll be listing some of the things you can do in this lovely city.
Medellin is a city where the transportation system is almost perfect. The metro moves between south and north (North and South). From downtown the train goes to the West and the tram to the East of the city. The main sites described below are arranged according to the nearest metro station to make your journey easier. The places are rated from 5 best to 1 so you can have a rough idea about what you should visit first.
Sightseeing in Medellin
- Metro cable Norte (5):
A nice ride on the cable car inside a cabin. You can either take it just to see the city on it or go to the last station Santo Domingo, get off and visit the library Spain. You can also delight with the view that you have from there.
- Parque Arvi (4):
If you are tired of the smog in the city and you want to feel immersed in a deep peacefulness, Parque Arvi is the place to go. Located on the northeast of Medellin, this place is up to show you what nature is all about. The easiest way to get there is by taking the cable car in Acevedo Station. Riding the cable car gives you an amazing view of Medellin, and you can feel amazed with the mountains of this city and the way that houses were built over them. If you want to go straight to Parque Arvi you just have to change the cable car in Santo Domingo Station towards Arvi (takes 30 minutes)The trees, the flowers, the air, the atmosphere change immediately. If you also like hiking, it’s highly recommended
- Jardín Botánico (4)
The entrance is for free and is a nice place to visit. Lots of green for nature lovers.
- Parque Explora (2)
If you have time and want to visit a really nice and complete Scientific park, go there. The place has many interesting things to be learned. What’s more, it has an aquarium inside.
There is not much to say about this, just so you know where it is case you want to visit it.
- Parque de los deseos (1)
This park is not special at all. The place is full of concrete and does not look like a park. However, those condition are used to create programs such as concerts, projected movies and different kind of events.
Estacion Parque Berrio
- Plaza Botero (5)
The famous Botero square is next to the station. There is an open exposition of around 20 bronze sculpture.
- Museo de Antioquia (Plaza Botero) (4):
This is definitely a place to visit if you like museums. You can find lots of master pieces that can be appreciated by your eyes. Many works from the Colombian famous artist Fernando Botero are in there. This museum is located very close to Parque Berrio station.
- Pasaje Junín (4)
This is a nice walk. The street is a famous avenue that was converted into a pedestrian street. Many people walk every day around Junín. There is something kind of typical over there: Seeing the elderly people sitting and having a nice coffee while talking and looking at people passing by. If you are doing this walk I recommend having dinner/lunch at La Hacienda, which is a typical restaurant.
- Parque de las luces (3)
This is a park with not much to see, except for a lot of «tubes» that can give you a nice photo.
- Parque de los Pies descalzos (3)
This is a park to chill out where you can go and relax. There are many bamboos in the park which give you a nice atmosphere. There are also a few fountains that are usually frequented by families with their children during Sundays (yes, kids shower in those fountains) The park is located very close to the station.
- Museo del Agua. (1)
This museum is located next to Parque de los Pies Descalzos. It is not a big one but they will give you some information regarding this natural resource.
- Pueblito paisa (5)
I like this place. Pueblito Paisa is a replica of a small town outside Medellin in Antioquia (Department of which Medellin is the capital). It has the main building that you can see when visiting any of those «pueblos». What’s more, it is located at the top of a mountain, thus you can take advantage of the height and take a great photo of the city.
- Parque ciudad del rio (3)
Description of this place: For chilling out, no more. Lots of people usually visit this place during Sundays with friend or family so as to relax over the grass with their picnic. There is a skate where bikers and skaters are.
- Museo de arte moderno (2)
Esta muy cerca de la Estacion Industriales y aunque no es muy grande por lo general tienen buenas exposiciones
- Unidad deportiva de Medellín. (1)
This is the sport center in Medellin and if you want to stay long term and like sports you should know about this. The place also has swimming pools where you can go for free. (check availability online) and you can also join some sport groups over there.
- Estadio Atanasio Girardot.
If you like football you are in the right place. Medellin is a football cities and there are currently 4 team from this region playing in the national league. So, you can go to the stadium and what a football match. I would recommend either Atletico Nacional (my team) or Deportivo Independiente Medellin
Estacion San Javier
- Metro cable occidente (3)
This cable car will give you another perspective of Medellin. Since it is located in the south you can see the whole city. There is not anything else to do but see enjoy the view.
- Escaleras Eléctricas. (4)
Escalators are located very close to San Javier station. You can either take a bus or taxi and it is about 10 minutes ride. The place is quite cool since it is very innovative. It stands in the middle of a neighborhood and goes up the hill. You can also have a nice view from the look up located at the top.
Party and nightlife
La Strada (Clubs)
- Located in the hearth of El Poblado, La Strada is a mall which has many expensive and «selective» clubs. Be careful with your bill over there.
Parque Lleras (Clubs, restaurants, bar)
- This is probably the area where most of the people want to be hosted. The area is supposed to be «upper class» but as other places in Medellin, you can see and find anything
La 33. (Bars, clubs, pub)
- You can see more than 10 blocks full of night life. Clubs, restaurants , pubs and bars
Barrio Colombia(Bars, clubs)
- This area is a nice party place. There are not too many tourist and the party is usually good. However, prices are mostly expensive. Drinks as well as entrance fee.
- Lots of restaurants, bars and clubs. Be aware that in most of the club around that area local music is mostly played, hence do not expect for any worldwide hit. Although some places might play some.
Parque del poblado
- Many restaurants and some bars are located there. Many alternative people usually go there during the weekend to share some beers with their friends. This is totally opposite to Parque Lleras.
Special festivals in Medellin
- Flower Festival (first week of August)
This consists in one of the biggest festivals in Colombia and it is all about flowers. The city gets full of happiness with parties everywhere. The main act is a parade that takes place the last weekend of the festival and it is called Desfile de Silleteros.
- Lightings along the Medellin River (December)
This is a beautiful job that the city does every year. The river Medellin gets lots of lights with different shapes along the river and it looks outstanding. It is visited by paisas and foreigners who are willing to wake while having a great time with friends
Pueblos – Small towns near Medellin
Jardin – Andes
This is probably the best small town near Medellin. Its location between coffee plantations make it perfect for those caffeine lovers. Jardin is located only 3 hours away from Medellin and there are a lot of activities do there. Horseback riding, waterfall, coffee farms and many more. The church located in the main square is really pretty. It is definitely worth the visit
Vuelta a oriente
Going around the East of Medellin. This tour is a good plans as long as you have someone who leads your in either a car or a motorcycle. The idea is visiting different small towns located in the East of the city. All one them have that special athmosphere that will make you feel like in a warm and cozy place.
Piedra del Peñol (Guatape):
Guatape is a little town located 2 hours away from Medellin. Since there is a dam close to that part of the city there is a lot of water around Guatape. You can ride on boats, sailboats and do some other stuff over the water. In Guatape you can find its most popular attraction which is La Piedra del Peñol. It is thought to be a meteorite that landed there many years ago and now it is a big rock visited by many people every day. I highly recommend this place since you’ll have such an amazing experience . What you’ll see here is very different compared to other attractions in other cities.
Santa Elena is a small town located just30 minutes away from Medellin. The weather is colder than Medellin (10 – 15) C or (55 to 65) F. This place is very famous during August because of the flower festival celebrated in Medellin. The «Silleteros» as the main characters of this festival is called, collect flowers cultivated in Santa Elena and build a «Silleta» (painting made out of flower). Besides that, the town is very tranquil and it is really cool to find a nice hostel or finca to be immerse in the forest.
Santa Fe de Antioquia
This is a colonial town located in the west of Medellin. It is famous because of its cobblestone streets and the design of its houses. There is also a famous bridge called «Puente de Occidente» that was built 100 years ago or so. The weather is hot and you can find many fincas with swimming pools and nice atmosphere to chill out.
If you have some extra time while being in Medellin, go to this place. It is a 3-hour-bus-ride from Medellin but I doubt you will regret going there. Rio Claro is a natural reserve located between the mountains in the northeast of Medellin. It is famous because as its name says it, the color of the river is very light. Don’t get surprise if you come across marble everywhere in Rio Claro since its soil is mainly formed over it. What’s more, you can easily find marvel MARBLE while swimming in the river. There are a myriad of activities to do over there, canopy, rafting, kayak and one, that I really like is the Guacharos Cavern. To go there you would have to hike up a mountain and then go down. At the end of this trial, you will run into a big hole in the Mountain: The cavern. The fun is inside, you will have water, mixed with marble , slides and darkness (off course you have your flashlight).
This used to be a famous summer house a long time ago, owned by a rich guy known by many people. Indeed, it was a zoo. He brought a myriad amount of animals and set them in his place. La Hacienda Napoles was taken over by the government and it is nowadays a museum but it is not focused on things that its first owner used to do. If you are going to Rio Claro, then you can consider this place which is only 1 hour away from there
Hiking in Medellin
- This mountain is located in the north of the city and is perfect for a nice hike. It could take you around 2 hours to go to the top. The path is decorated with many green trees and with a mix of sounds between birds and small waterfall where you can even take a bath.
- This place is located in the south of the city and is a nice spot to relax next to the water. You can also get in the water if you want but it is not deep at all. Water is nice though. Lots of people usually go there on a Sunday. They cook and drink with their friends during the whole day while enjoying the water
- This is a hard trial for those who really like hiking. La Catedral is located in Envigado and it used to be a famous jail. The path is usually ridden by bicycle lovers every Sunday but it is also available to hike.
I hope you find this information helpful and don’t forget to share and like.